Cubs president Esptein thinks Morrow will pitch this season
Injured Chicago Cubs closer Brandon Morrow isn't near to being ready to pitch, but team president Theo Epstein said Thursday he believes that can happen sometime this season.
Morrow, who missed the second half of last season with a biceps injury and then had an elbow cleanup in November, was shut down by the Cubs recently in Arizona, where he was working to come back.
"We're still in the diagnostic stage with him at this point because he's undergone some tests," said Epstein, who added that scans were part of those tests. "We have the results of some of them, not all of them.
"Yes, we think he's going to resume pitching at some point, probably not in the matter of a week or two, but I think after that point he'll get throwing again and get back on the mound. We need the full results of the testing before we see exactly what treatment is necessary. But we expect him to be throwing again within a matter of weeks."
Pedro Strop has filled in as closer in Morrow's absence, as he did last year. Epstein did not rule out getting help from the outside, but it seems most, if not all, of the early season bullpen reinforcements will continue coming from within.
"Nothing's changed on the bullpen front," he said. "I think we recognize this is a year where we're going to have to make a lot of important calls this season and pick the right guys and put them in the right positions to succeed. I think things have really started to stabilize in the bullpen.
"I think there are a lot of really encouraging signs, with (Brandon) Kintzler as an example, the transformation that he's made with a lot of hard work this winter and spring training to become really reliable with what he brings to the table at this point."
Cubs option Collins:
To make room on the roster for Jon Lester to pitch Thursday against the Dodgers, the Cubs optioned left-handed reliever Tim Collins to Class AAA Iowa.
In 3 games since being recalled from Iowa, Collins was 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA.